“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression….The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy.” ~ Stephen Hawkings speaking at London’s Science Museum
Stephen Hawkings explains, “It (aggression) may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.”
It is illegal to have sex with a child less than 16 years old. By law, they are protected because they are morally too immature to engage in sex or bring life into the world. Similarly, a child does not understand death or who animals are and should be encouraged to develop a conscience, not “mentored” to destroy life.
There is no way to disguise it — killing is violence. Aggression is a human failing. Encouraging children to kill as they develop is an immersion technique that is formative. Brainwashing involves breaking down the identity of a person to replace it with ideology. A child has no firm identity established yet, and can be indoctrinated into a culture of violence when hunting is started in the vulnerable first stages of life.
Numbing a child to the suffering of the other beings on this planet is no longer acceptable. We are leaving them a world bereft of life.
Wisconsin Assembly Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, a wildlife-killing advocate, introduced a bill in the Legislature to allow children of any age to carry a weapon and kill wildlife. The bill passed and was signed by Gov. Walker.
Interest in hunting is flagging, and this appears to be one of a number of efforts to shore it up. Women and children are now prominently featured in weapons-industry ads.
According to the 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey, over 11 million hunters spent $25.6 billion destroying the life of our commons. Over 86 million wildlife watchers spent three times as much, $75.9 billion. Nonhunters, who comprise 96.5 percent of the citizens of this country, also pay for that proportion of our public lands.
The difference between the two groups is that the majority of us do no deliberate harm to the commons, while hunters leave lead shot across the landscape that poisons water birds, eagles, and wildlife that ingest it; drive ATVs; run packs of dogs on wildlife, terrorizing them and us for months; bait and kill the wildlife that watchers travel to experience alive.
Hunters are only 3.54 percent of this country’s population and yet have a stranglehold on government agencies that should serve us all. While hunter numbers have declined 16 percent in the past five years, wildlife watchers have increased 20 percent.
Two-thirds of wildlife has been destroyed in just 50 years, and we are at a tipping point of ecosystem collapse. Biologists say 50 percent of all species will likely face human-caused extinction by the end of this century.
It is baffling how maiming and killing wildlife gets a pass when it comes to animal abuse. That can be attributed to the same patriarchal control that traditionally has held sway and excluded nonhunters from participating in the management of public lands, waterways and wildlife.
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources has essentially cut the nonhunting public out of the annual election of delegates to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, the sole advisory group to the state Legislature on the governing of nature and wildlife. Although all citizens should be represented, 95 percent of the delegates are hunters, hounders and trappers, who are elected by the 5,000 hunters who attend the election annually. The annual event is cleverly obscured, not named an election, and the DNR is complicit in keeping it secretive and privatized to its hunter clientele.
Tweaking the DNR is not the solution. It’s time to jump the curb and create something totally new. We don’t need better sameness, we need a paradigm shift — a system that includes all of us creating life-giving support for nature and wildlife to protect and nurture what is left.
We are out of the cave, and we need to be done with the industrial revolution and its dirty fuels, done with animal agriculture and its destruction of life on earth, and done with destroying wildlife for fun and trophy heads on walls.
When I hear Bill McKibben say, “No more pipelines, no more fracking, no more drilling — NONE OF IT!” I say: “No more trapping, no more hounding, no more hunting, no more taxidermy, no more heads on walls — NONE OF IT!”
Actions: Wildlife lovers can help create a Wisconsin bear sanctuary and education center 35 miles north of Madison. The Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic website has more information on how to help.
Please support these Center for Biological Diversity petitions to save life on earth:
• Trump has launched 47 attacks against the Endangered Species Act. Please take the pledge to support it.
• Take the pledge against Trump’s border wall, which would further endanger species.
This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on November 19, 2017